Peter Gonzales, Fiona Florence, Pia De Doses, Alvaro Vitali,
A panoramic album of impressions in praise of Rome and the Italians, past, present, and future. The film falls into specific episodes and, it seems, autobiographical memories that are transmogrified into extraordinary visions of humanity, and the timeless revolving of old traditions with contemporary desires, ambitions, and feelings. One sees Fellini’s memory conjuring forth the intermingled sanctimony and boyhood roguery of his childhood among the Jesuits; a maliciously amusing survey of the silent Italian cinema as it affects a typical bourgeois audience of the 1920s; and a stunning re-creation of Fellini’s arrival in Rome in 1939, just before the war. Two episodes have been acclaimed as masterworks: a surrealistic indictment of clerical pomposity, symbolized by what can only be described as an ecclesiastical fashion show; and a detailed, hilarious reminiscence of a variety show in wartime Rome. Fellini’s enormous understanding and sympathy for human beings and their frailties pervades the entire film.